Dying with dignity bill to face court challenge

Quebec's politicians have reintroduced the bill that will allow medically assisted death within the health care system.

The legislation was dropped when former premier Pauline Marois called an election.

But, in an unusual move today, MNAs unanimously voted to restore the bill to its previous stage in the process.

"I am very happy we're here today," said MNA Véronique Hivon, who was the PQ minister who originally sponsored the legislation.

She had argued before and during the election campaign that a Liberal government might not reinstate the bill.

"I don't want to go back to the past because this is a happy day," she said, but added "there were some worries."

The bill has been the subject of a free vote as it passes through the assembly, which means MNAs have been allowed to vote their conscience, rather than according to the party line.

When the legislation went to second reading last October, half of Quebec's Liberal MNAs voted against it.

Now, the bill is being co-sponsored by the new Health minister, Gaétan Barrette, who had supported the project for years in his past job as the head of the medical specialists' association.

He says he has been speaking with his Liberal colleagues about the bill, and more of them will support the legislation this time. "My opinion, and I think that I am right...we think that the bill will pass strongly."

All other parties, including the CAQ, are expected to unanimously support the bill, which means only seven Liberals would have to vote in favour in order for it to pass into law.

Court challenge

Passing the free vote may only be the bill's first hurdle.

The groups Living with Dignity and the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia are already vowing to take the law to court, if and when it passes.

But Hivon says the principles behind the bill have already undergone an independent legal review, and the legislation being supported by the Quebec bar association.

Both Hivon and Barrette say they are confident the bill will stand up to any challenge.

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  1. More BS posted on 05/22/2014 08:02 PM
    Politicians get medical care by being in the front of line.
    The majority of Quebeckers do not have a family doctor .
    Instead of making euthanasia an option how about getting a doctor for everyone before tackling this issue.
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